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country; to defend the innocent in distress, especially when they happen to be oppressed by the power of the great; as I have often done, says he, in other causes, but particularly in that of Roscius against Sylla himself in the height of his power. A noble lesson to all advancers, to apply their talents to the protection of innocence and injured virtue; and to make justice, not profit, the rule and end of their labors.
CLOSE OF CICERO'S CONSULSHIP. . But before we close the account of the memorable events of this year, we must not omit the mention of one which distinguished it afterwards as a particular era in the annals of Rome, the birth of Octavius, surnamed Augustus, which happened on the twenty-third of September. Velleius calls it an accession of glory to Cicero's consulship: but it excites speculations rather of a different sort, on the inscrutable methods of Providence, and the short-sighted policy of man, that in the moment when Rome was preserved from destruction, and its liberty thought to be established more firmly than ever, an infant should be thrown into the world, who, within the course of twenty years, effected what Catiline had attempted, and destroyed both Cicero and the republic. If Rome could have been saved by human counsel, it would have been saved by the skill of Cicero: but its destiny was now approaching: for governments, like natural bodies, have, with the principles of their preservation, the seeds of ruin also essentially mixed in their constitution, which, after a certain period, begin to operate, and exert themselves to the dissolution of the vital frame. These seeds had long been fermenting in the bowels of the republic, when Octavius came, peculiarly formed by nature, and instructed by art, to quicken their operation, and exalt them to maturity.
Cicero's administration was now at an end, and nothing remained but to resign the consulship, according to custom, in an assembly of the people, and to take the usual cath, of his having discharged it with fidelity. This was generally accompanied with a speech from the expiring consul; and after such a year, and from such a speaker, the city was in no small expectation of what Cicero would say to them: but Metellus, one of the new tribunes, who affected commonly to open their magisiracy by some remarkable act, as a specimen of the measures which they intended to pursue, resolved to disappoint both the orator and the audience: for when Cicero had mounted the rostra, and was ready to perform this last act of his office, the tribune would not suffer hiin to speak, or to do any thing more than barely to take the oath, declaring, that he who had put citizens to death unhcard, ought not
to be permitted to speak for himself: upon which Cicero, who was never at a loss, instead of pronouncing the ordinary form of the oath, exalting the tone of his voice, swore out aloud, so as all the people might hear him, that he had saved the republic and the city from ruin ; which the multitude below confirmed with a universal shout, and with one voice cried out, that what he had sworn was true. Thus the intended affront was turned, by his presence of mind, to his greater honor, and he was conducted from the forum to his house, with all possible demonstrations of respect by the whole city.
mypage was copious and elevated ; his sentiments just; his
astrament of governing was dissimulation; yet he had
scer than a statesman, so what he gained in the camp he 22,list in the city; and though adored when abroad, was la cornted and mortified at home; till the imprudent opposi
CHARACTER OF POMPEY. Pompey had early acquired the surname of the Great, by that sort of merit which, from the constitution of the republic, necessarily made him great; a fame and success in war, superior to what Rome had ever known in the most celebrated of her gene. rals. He had triumphed at three several times over the three different parts of the known world, Europe, Asia, Africa; and by his victories had almost doubled the extent, as well as the revenues, of the Roman dominion; for, as he declared to the people on his return from the Mithridatic war, " he had found the lesser Asia the boundary, but left it the middle of their empire." He was about six years older than Cæsar; and while Cæsar, immersed in pleasures, oppressed with debts, and suspected by all honest men, was hardly able to show his head; Pompey was flourishing in the height of power and glory, and by the consent of all parties placed at the head of the republic. This was the post that his ambition seemed to aim at, to be the first man in Rome; the Leader, not the Tyrant of his country: for he more than once had it in his power to have made himself the master of it without any risk; if his virtue, or his phlegm at least, had not restrained him : but he lived in a perpetual expectation of receiv. ing, from the gift of the people, what he did not care to seize by force; and, by fomenting the disorders of the city, hoped to drive them to the necessity of creating him Dictator. It is an observa. tion of all the historians, that while Cæsar made no difference of power, whether it was conferred or usurped: whether over those who loved, or those who feared him: Pompey seemed to value none but what was offered ; nor to have any desire to govern, but with the good will of the governed. What leisure he found from his wars, he employed in the study of polite letters, and especially of eloquence, in which he would have acquired great fame, if his genius had not drawn him to the more dazzling glory of arms: vet he pleaded several causes with applause, in the defence of his friends and clients; and some of them in conjunction with Cicero.
a ti the senate drove him to that alliance with Crassus and
n these two, not as the partners, but the ministers rather of
le temper in Marius and Sylla, and observed the happy effects
idy, was encouraged by it to fight to his own ruin. He
His language was copious and elevated ; his sentiments just; his voice sweet; his action noble, and full of dignity. But his talents were better formed for arms, than the gown: for though, in both, he observed the same discipline, a perpetual modesty, temperance, and gravity of outward behaviour; yet, in the license of camps, the example was more rare and striking. His person was extremely graceful, and imprinting respect : yet with an air of reserve and haughtiness, which became the general better than the citizen. His parts were plausible, rather than great; specious, rather than penetrating; and his view of politics but narrow ; for his chief instrument of governing was dissimulation; yet he had not always the art to conceal his real sentiments. As he was a better soldier than a statesman, so what he gained in the camp he usually lost in the city; and though adored when abroad, was often affronted and mortified at home; till the imprudent opposition of the senate drove him to that alliance with Crassus and Cæsar, which proved fatal both to himself and the republic. He took in these two, not as the partners, but the ministers rather of his power; that, by giving them some share with him, he might make his own authority uncontrollable: he had no reason to ap prehend that they could ever prove his rivals; since neither of them had any credit or character of that kind which alone could raise them above the laws; a superior fame and experience in war, with the militia of the empire at their devotion : all this was purely his own; till, by cherishing Cæsar, and throwing into his hands the only thing which he wanted, arms and military command, he made him at last too strong for himself, and never began to fear him till it was too late : Cicero warmly dissuaded both his union and his breach with Cæsar; and after the rupture, as warmly still, the thought of giving him battle: if any of these counsels had been followed, Pompey had preserved his life and honor, and the republic its liberty. But he was urged to his fate by a natural superstition, and attention to those vain auguries with which he was flattered by all the haruspices : he had seen the same temper in Marius and Sylla, and observed the happy effects of it: but they assumed it only out of policy, he out of principle. They used it to animate their soldiers, when they had found a probable opportunity of fighting; but he, against all prudence and probability, was encouraged by it to fight to his own ruin. He saw all his mistakes at last, when it was out of his power to correct them; and in his wretched flight from Pharsalia was forced to confess, that he had trusted too much to his hopes; and that Cicero had judged better, and seen farther into things than he. The resolution of seeking refuge in Egypt, finished the sad catastrophe of this great man: the father of the reigning prince had been highly obliged to him for his protection at Rome, and resto.
zx demander Pope," to David Mallet,' a Scotchman, who, in 1754, pub
1 cuplete edition of his lordship's works, in five volumes. . Among
ration to his kingdom: and the son had sent a considerable fleet to his assistance in the present war: but, in this ruin of his fortunes, what gratitude was there to be expected from a court, governed by eunuchs and mercenary Greeks? all whose politics turned, not on the honor of the king, but the establishment of their own power; which was likely to be eclipsed by the admission of Pompey. How happy had it been for him to have died in that sickness, when all Italy was putting up vows and prayers for his safety! or, if he had fallen by chance of war on the plains of Pharsalia, in the defence of his country's liberty, he had died still glorious, though unfortunate ; but, as if he had been reserved for an example of the instability of human greatness, he, who a few days before commanded kings and consuls, and all the noblest of Rome, was sentenced to die by a council of slaves; murdered by a base deserter; cast out naked and headless on the Egyptian strand; and when the whole earth, as Velleius says, had scarce been sufficient for his victories, could not find a spot upon it at last for a grave.
Led Bolung broke's character as a man there is but little to respect, much
a se consideration in this work of ours, designed to mark the pro-
as the case, freedom, fluency, and liveliness of elegant conversa.
eñect in moulding the style of popular writing since his time,"3
HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE. 1678--1751. HENRI ST. John, son of Sir Henry St. John, of Battersea, Surrey county, was born October 1, 1678. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and after spending many years of dissipation on the continent, he was, on his return, elected to parliament in 1701, when the Tories were in power. He was elevated to the peerage in 1712, by the title of Viscount Bolingbroke; but soon after the death of Queen Anne, fearing the course which might be taken against him by the new administration, he fled to France. On the 9th of August of the same year, (1718,) he was impeached by Walpole at the bar of the House of Lords of high-treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors; and as he failed to surrender himself to take his trial, a bill of attainder was passed against him by parliament, on the 10th of September. In the mean time he showed what were his principles, and where his heart was, by entering the service of the Pretender, as secretary. In 1723 he obtained a full pardon, and returned to England: his property was restored to him, but he was excluded from the House of Lords. He then engaged in active opposition to the Whig ministry of Sir Robert Walpole, and published a great number of political tracts.
In 1735 he suddenly withdrew to France, for reasons which have never been explained, and resided there seven years, during which time he published his “Letters on the Study of History," and a «Letter on the true Use of Retirement,” both of which contain many valuable reflections. On the death of his father, 1742, he returned to take possession of the family estate at Battersea, and in 1749 published his « Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism," and the “Idea of a Patriot King." Most of his early friends, both literary and political, of whom were Pope, Swift, Gay, and Atterbury, were now gone, and he himself expired on the 15th of December, 1751. He bequeathed all his manuscripts, "as a legacy for traducing the memory of his own old
ABSURDITIES OF USELESS LEARNING.
sace. Some are the proper objects of one man's curiosity,
menty of one, like the hunger of the other, devours raven-
Teh and improve nothing but their distemper. Some such
into which men are apt to fall. One of them I knew in
dogaus memory, and to both a prodigious industry. Ile had
la p atract, "The Patrit King, for publication, and distribution among his own
gorakes most ungrateful treatment of his old friend was, doubtless, that Pope ha
betalt tis, ke Roscoe's Powe, vol. 1.557
yaits we look in vain for that genius which produced the Dissertation on Parties
.- Por, 119.
friend Alexander Pope," to David Mallet,' a Scotchman, who, in 1754, published a complete edition of his lordship's works, in five volumes. - Among them were found a series of Essays against revealed religion, which led to the caustic but just remark of Dr. Johnson, that “having loaded a blunderbuss, and pointed it against Christianity, he had not the courage to discharge it himself, but left half-a-crown to a hungry Scotchman to pull the trigger afier his death."
In Lord Bolingbroke's character as a man there is but little to respect, much to condemn. His philosophical writings are now but little read, and for their matter contain little that is worth reading. As a rhetorician, however, he deserves some consideration in this work of ours, designed to mark the progress of English style, and to bring under our notice the best writers. His style was a happy medium between that of the scholar and that of the man of society—or rather it was a happy combination of the best qualities of both, * heightening the ease, freedom, fluency, and liveliness of elegant conversation, with many of the deeper and richer tones of the eloquence of formal orations and books. The example he thus set has probably produced a very considerable effect in moulding the style of popular writing since his time." 3
ABSURDITIES OF USELESS LEARNING. Some histories are to be read, some are to be studied, and some may be neglected entirely, not only without detriment, but with advantage. Some are the proper objects of one man's curiosity, some of another’s, and some of all men's; but all history is not an object of curiosity for any man. He who improperly, wantonly, and absurdly makes it so, indulges a sort of canine appetite; the curiosity of one, like the hunger of the other, devours ravenously, and without distinction, whatever falls in its way, but neither of them digests. They heap crudity upon crudity, and nourish and improve nothing but their distemper. Some such characters I have known, though it is not the most common extreme into which men are apt to fall. One of them I knew in this country. He joined to a more than athletic strength of body, a prodigious memory, and to both a prodigious industry. He had
1 There is not room here to go into the details of the controversy that arose from the base act of Mallet in maligning Pope, and the still baser feelings of Bolingbroke in first assenting to it, and afterwards rewarding it. Bolingbroke's pretended ground of offence was, that Pope, into whose hands he had placed his political tract, “The Patriot King," for publication, and distribution among his own (Bolingbroke's) friends, had published more than he ought. But he knew that Pope did it purely from his admiration of the tract, and a desire to have it more generally known. The real cause, therefore, of Bolingbroke's most ungrateful treatment of his old friend was, doubtless, that Pope had bequeathed his property in his printed works to Warburton, rather than to himself. For a more particular account of this, see Roscoe's Pope, vol. 1. p. 557.
9 "When Tully attempted poetry, he became as ridiculous as Bolingbroke when he attempted philosophy and divinity; we look in vain for that genius which produced the Dissertation on Parties, in the tedious philosophical works, of which it is no exaggerated satire to say, that the reasoning of them is sophistical and inconclusive, the style diffuse and verbose, and the learning seemingly contained in them not drawn from the originals, but picked up and purloined from French critics and translations.". Warton's Pope, 1. 119.
* See also some remarks on his style in the 19th Lecture of Dr. Blair, and in Drake's Essays, vol. Iv. p. 234.